It’s easy to second guess things with the benefit of hindsight to see what actually happened in a particular situation. No one is above it, least of all sports fans. There were several pivotal moments in the 49ers loss to the Rams today that can easily be second guessed. So let’s see what could have, would have and should have been in this game.
Starting with what was probably the most important play of the game, as it turned into the only Rams touchdown of the day. The triple option, running to the left with Colin Kaepernick deciding to pitch the ball to Ted Ginn Jr. who was about 5 yards away from him.
What could have been? Kaepernick could have recognized the defense was on him and that Ginn was too far away to make a successful pitch and just ran a couple yards until he was brought down by the defenders who were approaching.
What would have happened in that case? The Rams would have been denied their only touchdown on the day, and an opportunity for a 2 point conversion which ultimately tied the game at 10. The 49ers would have still kept possession and been able to punt the ball to the Rams who were unable to get much going on offense the entire game.
What should have happened? The offensive coordinator should not have called that type of a play in that situation. The chances that Kaepernick has ever practiced that play with Ginn Jr. are slim to none. The chance is has for not only failing but for resulting in a bad pitch and fumble are much higher than most other plays Greg Roman could have called. The 49ers were conservative nearly all game and this is one play where they should have stuck with that mentality. It is one of a handful of plays that cost them a win.
Next on the list of second guesses is Delanie Walker dropping a perfectly thrown touchdown pass that fell right over the top of two defenders into his hands and off of his fingertips. Walker himself said after the game it was “a perfect throw.”
What could have been? Walker could have caught the pass for a touchdown as he was only one step away from the end zone with his momentum carrying him in for a touchdown had he held onto the ball. Given the way the Rams offense struggled that touchdown would have likely been the deciding score and Kaepernick would have been hailed as a game winning quarterback yet again.
What should have happened? Delanie Walker should have caught the pass, plain and simple. Some have second guessed the need to take a shot at the end zone and have the clock stopped with about three minutes left because of an incomplete pass. In most cases that would be true, but if you hit a receiver in the hands for a touchdown pass, I think that taking a shot at a score can be justified.
Lastly on the list of second guesses for this game is the play calling and missed kick by David Akers in the 49ers final drive of the overtime. These two go hand in hand because with even slightly more aggressive or at least more creative play calls on this drive the 49ers might have been in better position for score or have a closer field goal attempt for Akers. They reached the 37 yard line of St. Louis and ran it twice up the middle for a gain of two yards per play then Kaepernick threw an incomplete pass. These plays left Akers attempting a 51 yard field goal for the win, which he ultimately missed.
What could have been? The 49ers could have recognized that the Rams were playing very soft coverage and essentially giving the 49ers receivers at least a 10 yard cushion. On the previous play Randy Moss made a 7 yard reception for a first down in which his defender was almost 12 yards away preventing anything deep. Had the 49ers used that space and threw a couple more quick passes to the receivers, they likely would have moved 10 or more yards closer for a more makeable field goal and won the game.
What should have happened? Akers should have made the field goal attempt. It was indoors, neither weather nor winds were factors and he had made kicks of that distance previously. This is the second game he has had a chance to win the game for the 49ers and failed. I would not be surprised to see the team bring in another kicker and work them out just in case this happens again.
Obviously more fans have their own ideas of what could have and should have happened. Make yourself heard.